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said Tuesday it stands by its 2001 projections, which call for full-year 2001 earnings to be slightly higher than analysts' expectations.

For 2001's first quarter ending March 2001, Avon said it expects sales growth in the low- to mid-single digits and earnings-per-share growth of 10% from the year-ago figure of 30 cents a share. According to First

Call/Thomson Financial

, 10 analysts expect the company to earn 34 cents a share in the first quarter.

The beauty products manufacturer also estimates earnings for full-year 2001 will range from $2.10 to $2.12 per share, up from last year's $1.88 a share. Twelve analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial expect the company to earn $2.09 a share.

Avon anticipates that earnings growth will accelerate in the second half of the year. For the full year, the company believes sales will grow in the mid-single digits.

Avon also said it plans to launch a new Health and Well Being product line in 15 markets this year, which it expects to generate $50 million in sales this year and $200 to $300 million by 2005.

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reaffirmed its first-quarter and full-year 2001 earnings estimates after competitor

Procter & Gamble


lowered guidance for the second half of the fiscal year due to a weakening of the Turkish lira.

Shares of Avon gained 66 cents a share, or 1.6%, to $41.15 in

New York Stock Exchange

trading Tuesday.